Yalda, la nuit du pardon

Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness
“You can still participate in our text message competition. Does Maryam Komijani deserve to be forgiven? Text 1 for yes, 2 for no.”

The spotlights and cameras are all in position. The moderator takes a last quick look at his notes. The final seconds of the intro ad roll by – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – and then the reality TV show goes live. Televised on the night of Yalda, of all days, a Persian celebration of the winter solstice. Tonight’s guest is Maryam, a young woman condemned to death. She is accompanied in studio by Mona, who has always been like a big sister to her. Maryam was living with Mona’s father in a temporary, marriage. Now she stands accused of his murder. In front of the camera and millions of viewers, Maryam is supposed to beg for forgiveness and her life. Alluding to a real, popular Iranian TV Show, the television studio serves as a stage for a chamber play that also explores the social dimensions behind the personal drama.
by Massoud Bakhshi
with Sadaf Asgari, Behnaz Jafari, Babak Karimi, Fereshteh Sadr Orafaee, Forough Ghajebeglou, Arman Darvish, Fereshteh Hosseini
France / Germany / Switzerland / Luxembourg / Lebanon / Iran 2019 Farsi 89’ Colour


  • Sadaf Asgari (Maryam)
  • Behnaz Jafari (Mona)
  • Babak Karimi (Ayat)
  • Fereshteh Sadr Orafaee (Mother)
  • Forough Ghajebeglou (Keshavarz)
  • Arman Darvish (Omid)
  • Fereshteh Hosseini (Anar)


Written and Directed by Massoud Bakhshi
Cinematography Julian Atanassov
Editing Jacques Comets
Sound Design Dana Farzanehpour, Denis Sechaud
Production Design Mahmoud Bakhshi
Costumes Rana Amini
Make-Up Leila Sani
Producers Jacques Bidou, Marianne Dumoulin
Co-Producers Nicole Gerhards, Joëlle Bertossa, Flavia Zanon, Bady Minck, Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu, Georges Schoucair, Fred Premel, Ali Mosaffa
Co-Production Niko Film Berlin
Close Up Films Genf
Amour Fou Luxembourg Ettelbruck
Shortcut Films Beirut
Tita B Productions Douarnenez
Ali Mosaffa Productions Teheran
ZDF Arte Mainz
VOO Be TV Lüttich

Massoud Bakhshi

Born in 1972 in Tehran, Iran where he still lives. Between 1990 and 1998, he worked as a film critic, screenwriter and producer. He has made ten documentaries and a short film which have won numerous awards. His debut feature film, A Respectable Family, was selected for the 2012 Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes.


1999 Cine Citta; documentary · Identification of a Woman; documentary 2001 When Behrang Meets Ayoumi; documentary 2003 Praying for The Rain; documentary 2004 Lost Windows; documentary 2007 Tehran Has No More Pomegranates; documentary 2008 Baghdad Barber; short film 2010 Our Persian Rug; documentary 2012 A Respectable Family; feature film 2019 Yalda, la nuit du pardon (Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness); feature film

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020